By George Overhill

30th Jan, 2023 | 7:10pm

Diego Llorente deal technicalities expected to bank Leeds United surprise profit amid Roma move

Diego Llorente’s move to Roma is technically a loan with an option but seems certain to net Leeds United a surprise profit, according to Beren Cross.

The 29-year-old defender has already travelled to Italy for his medical [Sky Sports, 30 January] ahead of an unexpected switch to join Jose Mourinho’s Serie A side.

Phil Hay has reported that the Whites inserted an obligation to turn the initial loan into a permanent move for the £18million the Spaniard initially cost from Real Sociedad, but Cross now adds that it is an option with easily attainable conditions and will in fact be redeemed for a higher amount than his original purchase amount.

Responding to a question about the move on his Leeds Live Q&A on Monday Cross wrote: “I’ve been told it’s technically an option rather than an obligation, but it’s virtually an obligation in all but name based on the conditions which need to be met.

“I am told it would be bigger than the £18m Leeds originally paid out to Real Sociedad in 2020 too, which is some going given how inconsistent he’s been in England.”

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Swapping Llorente, who has struggled badly at times over the past year or so, for Max Wober and ultimately making a profit on the deal is incredible business for Leeds United.

The hierarchy is rightly criticised when they make a mistake but on this move they appear to have pulled one out of nowhere so deserve praise.

Some may be concerned that this leaves the defence short, but there are other options and Llorente has felt like more of a liability than a support at times.

It may be that the environment at Elland Road just never suited the centre-back, which happens sometimes with even the very best, so a new environment for him with a world-famous manager and an excellent fee for Leeds works for everyone.

While all the focus has been on the incoming players this month, and rightly so when on paper they appear to all be set to strengthen the squad significantly, this one has come as a surprise but might be the most well-negotiated one of all.

The Whites have been very active in this January window, clearly not willing to risk taking top flight survival down to the final day again, but the proof will be in the performances on the pitch going forward.

In other Leeds United news, an official announcement is expected Monday on the “first day as a Leeds player” for a priority target.